Disney is known as “The Happiest Place on Earth” for good reason. While the cast members are mostly responsible for making that magic happen, part of that responsibility lies on the guest as well. Anyone who has been to any sort of theme park knows that a rude guest can sour the experience for EVERYONE in the vicinity. Not to mention, cast members have enough to deal with it as it is.
Here are just a few tips on how to be a courteous guest and help the Disney cast members keep the magic alive. Disney park etiquette is very important, so be sure you study up carefully!
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Try to Get Cast Members to “Break Character”
I can’t stress it enough – do not try and make cast members break character! Disney park etiquette is in place not only to help you, but to also protect the careers of cast members. As a former Disney employee, I can tell you from experience that cast members have a strict script they have to follow. That goes double for character performers. Trying to get Belle to break character not only ruins the fun for those around you, but puts Belle’s career in actual jeopardy.
Instagram is full of horror stories of people who have exposed cast member’s real identities to people. The consequences are real – people have actually lost their jobs with Disney from it! Suspend your belief for just a few moments and appreciate the hard work that princess is putting in to make your visit magical. Resist the urge to tell her you loved her latest instagram post of her cat.
Hogging the Shade
No matter which US park you’re at, chances are, you’ll be there in a summer, and it’ll be hot. Disney is usually pretty good about keeping their guests cool and providing plenty of shaded areas. However, in places where the shade is sparse, be courteous and allow others to use it as well! Disney park etiquette comes in to play here, and let’s you and the guests around you get a bit more comfort in their day when the weather is hot.
Case in point – while waiting in line for the Finding Nemo Submarine ride in Disneyland on one particularly brutal SoCal day, umbrellas had been put up in the queue. The queue is pretty much all outside in the direct sunlight. If you’ve ever ridden this ride, you know that ride loading is sloooooow, so we were there for quite some time. Unfortunately, the woman in front of us was making our wait even worse.
She would stand in the shade of the umbrella, and then WAIT for the line in front of her to clear out until it had reached the next umbrella before moving up. That way, she never had to step outside of the shade, hogging the spot under the umbrella the whole queue! Those of us a few people behind didn’t get ANY shade, because she kept holding everyone up until she had the opportunity to take it for herself.
It’s rude, inconsiderate, and can actually cause others harm if they overheat. We’re all suffering here – so we should all share what shade we do have! If you simply cannot handle the shade, grab a sunhat before heading to the parks!
Complaining About Wait Times
Even though Fastpass exists, you’re going to have to wait in line sometimes. Now that everyone has cell phones, it shouldn’t be THAT hard for you to pass the time on your wait. Nothing bums me out more than hearing people complain about wait times. All it does is instantly lower the mood of those around you. Sometimes rides break. Sometimes a person needs assistance to be loaded into the ride vehicle, so they have to stop for a moment. You need to be prepared to stand in line for a while before you go to Disney. It will inevitably happen. Disney park etiquette dictates that you should be understanding if you have to wait – and please, don’t ask for free things for having to wait!
Same goes for reservations too. While waiting at The Coral Reef restaurant one time, they were very backed up and warned us when we checked in for our reservation that there was still going to be a wait. No worries from us – but the people next to us complained the entire time they were waiting about how ridiculous it was. They even went on and on about how unprofessional it was that Disney was making them wait. They acted as if Disney cast members have actual fairy dust that makes people clear out of restaurants in a timely manner.
Keep in mind this party checked in AFTER us. However, they literally made SUCH a stink that they got themselves seated after about 15 minutes because they kept complaining. Disney can’t control how fast people eat at the restaurant! Disney cast members are experts at moving people, and you WILL be seated and it WILL be worth it. There is no need to make such a scene.
This goes to show why it’s so important to provide yourself lots of wiggle room around your reservation. It may take longer than you think!
If waiting in line is THAT important to you, I recommend going during the off season. Less waiting and more DOING!
Ruining the Magic For Others
It may seem like a no-brainer, but I have legitimately seen people try to purposely ruin the magic for young kids that aren’t in their party because they think it’s funny. For example, if you’re waiting in line for Sleeping Beauty and the girl in front of you is telling her mom how excited she is to meet her, don’t interrupt and tell her she’s just a cast member in a costume.
I’ve really seen this happen, believe it or not, and in more ways than one. One specific time I remember this happening, we were waiting in line for Star Tours and the group of teens in front of me rudely told a young kid that Star Wars wasn’t real. He looked heartbroken and while he didn’t make a big deal of it, he was practically silent the entire time we waited in line after that. It was obvious that he was just crushed. To make it worse, the teens were laughing about it – they thought it was funny.
Basically – mind your own business!
People go to Disney to escape reality. Remember that people have paid thousands to have bring their kids for a magical experience. What do you get out of ruining that for someone? So just don’t do it.
There you have it – just a few things you should definitely avoid doing while at the Disney parks. Your fellow guests will thank you, and cast members won’t want to roll their eyes at you after you leave.
Got any more advice on what NOT to do at Disney parks? Post in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email! You will be notified when I have new posts on the way. Plus, you’ll get my NEW WDW PREP CHECKLIST as a FREE thank you for subscribing!
Kristy Bullard says
These are some great suggestions! All it takes is one rude person or an unkind comment to ruin a great vacation. It’s so much nicer when everyone is courteous and thoughtful while on vacation.
Thanks! And I know, it’s so frustrating, I can’t imagine how the cast members feel some days!
If someone doesn’t move up while in a queue line, I will walk right past him/her. Sometimes people don’t realize, so I will explain to them that I need to get into the shade before I burst into flames. Helps that I’m a fair skinned red head.
I should have done that to this woman! haha
Ann F. Snook-Moreau says
I hate when people complain about the wait times. It’s like, everyone here is in the same line as you! Going to the parks at peak times means inevitable waits.
I literally brought out my notepad to jot down the Dont’s, hahaha. I was just sharing with a friend about taking my son to Disney in August. I can barely wait! Thanks, for the deets.
Cristina Pettersen Carpio says
Well this is a very interesting list of things not to do… But definitely going at peak hours or high season should be avoided if possible… and standing in line in the sun
I love this post! Yes, I hate it when people ruin the magic or talk spoilers in line for rides! The Worst!
These are some amazing suggestions, Ther are few people who intentionally ruining the magic for kids, and also making uncomfortable for cast members too.
Elizabeth O says
This is a great post. You made some really great suggestions to help anyone who is visiting Disney be a great guest indeed! I always try and go off-peak to places like this, crowds are not my thing!
Geraline Batarra says
Such a great suggestions. Honestly, I hate waiting but still have a consideration but I hate it more when people complaining about the wait times. So I suggest that if you hate the idea of waiting you should avoid going out on a peak hours and in a high season.
Such fun tips AND a cute idea for a posting. There are so many people there that you really do need to mind yourself and be polite.
I have a friend who is a former disney princess and she’s told me some of the worst stories. Some of it is just basic manners while other stuff should just be common sense. Glad to see someone putting a PSA out there for those absent minded people.
Liz Cochico says
These are wonderful suggestions. You are there to have fun, so anything that will go wrong will definitely ruin the day.
Some times small things ruin your whole day..but we shouldn’t care much about those things at that time & we should enjoy to the fullest
Evelyn, PathofPresence says
Oh wow!! My reaction (esp to point 1) is “… but WHY??” So crazy that people find entertainment in this. Thanks for raising awareness – I’ll Be more vigilant. Knowledge is power & if ever I notice this, I can chime in and encourage the vigilantes to knock it off.
I agree, be considerate. As Cinderella said – all it takes is a little courage and kindness. Then we can all have a good time and worth it vacation.
Jordan Nunamaker says
The ruining the magic one is huge! As an ex-college program participant, I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve heard parents try “debunk” Disney magic for their kids. It hurts to see.
thank you for raising awareness 🙂 it takes a lot of courage, generosity and politeness 🙂 and also great suggestions too
Yes!!!!!!! All of these tips are awesome!!!! We need Disney etiquette classes!!